The Best Books of 2020

Most folks will agree that there isn’t a great deal to praise about the year 2020; yet I consider the books I’ve seen this year to be a badly needed bright spot. In the little time remaining, I’ll share the finest that I’ve seen across 15 genres. I don’t have an overall best book because the quality is so even across most of my selections that it would be a crime to choose only one or two, and–let’s face it–lame to declare three or four-way ties. That said, let’s dive in!

Best Nonfiction 2020

This one will surprise nobody. Merely being granted access in advance to this author’s work is a special sort of honor.

Caste, by Isabel Wilkerson*****

Best Political Book 2020

No, it’s not about Trump. I’m done with all that. This journalist does a bang-up job skewering the ultra-right, and he is funny as hell. You should read him.

Best Southern Fiction:

I’ve been a David Joy fan since his first novel, but this one is his best.

Best Novel by a Pacific Northwest Author:

Mandelbaum won me with her short story collection, Bad Kansas, a few years back. I knew this one would be good before I read a single word. There are other categories this book could win, but we’ll roll with this one.

The Bright Side Sanctuary for Animals, by Becky Mandelbaum*****

Best Debut Novel:

This is just straight-up fun. Let’s hope we see more of Wheeler.

Falling Onto Cotton, by Matthew E. Wheeler*****